Safe and Sound Protocol
When the Thinking Brain is Overwhelmed – Recruit the Nervous System
Have you ever wondered why your child just explodes and slips into a full blown meltdown, often over the simplest of things? Or, why certain sounds make them flinch or they seem to be more sensative than other kids their age?
The explanation is in the nervous system.
(here’s a great video about the Polyvagal Theory that helps explain how our nervous system works to keep us regulated)
Sometimes the information one has in their thinking brain just doesn’t translate to their body when their emotions are really big and overwhelming which then leads to loud, disruptive, inattentive, or sassy behaviors and attitudes. The thinking brain just isn’t working, in that moment – it’s offline! The way we get the thinking brain back online is to calm the nervous system.
When the thinking brain is not available to help the person calm down using thoughts and knowledge, we have to recruit the nervous system to do the work using the body first.
We can target the nervous system directly, bypassing the thinking brain until it is back online, by using our senses and bodies to ‘talk’ to the most important nerve in our body responsible for calming down, the vagus nerve. This can be done with the help of a well-trained professional such as a psychotherapist or occupational therapist using movement, sound, scent, touch, etc.
The Safe and Sound Protocol Targets the Nervous System
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a specially filtered music program that helps us reach the parts of the brain that need regulating for improved function and behavior.
The SSP music is designed to shift the nervous system into a calmer state, by influencing the Vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve in our body. Improving Vagal tone allows us to feel safe and regulated, which allows for greater social engagement, flexible thinking and improves our ability to listen, to learn, and try new things, instead of having an automatic defensive or fearful response.
By listening to the SSP music, with specific frequencies of sounds and volume changes, we can teach the nervous system, via the middle ear muscles, to filter out background noise and more clearly hear people speaking.
The following are some challenges that the SSP is indicated for:
Difficulties with Social Communication
Preparation for Therapy
To see a short and informative video about the Safe and Sound Protocol, click here.
If you think the SSP may be helpful for your child or for yourself, contact us today for a free 15-minute phone consultation or to schedule an appointment to get started.